Dave Grohl made one of his first public appearances since the March death of Foo Fighters’ drummer Taylor Hawkins, appearing Tuesday night at the tiny Largo theater in Los Angeles to sing the iconic guitar riff of Seals and Crofts’ yacht-rock classic “Summer Breeze” alongside headliner Beck, who was also joined onstage by Jack Black and Kyle Gass of Tenacious D, producer Greg Kurstin and actor-musician John C. Reilley.
The seemingly impromptu sit-in was part of a benefit show organized by Judd Apatow for the organization Victims First, a rapid response team that helps victims and communities behind-the-scenes after mass casualty crime, and is part of an ongoing series of benefits Apatow is organizing at the theater, which has a capacity of 280.
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Beck was the only performer announced for the night, which was already star-studded before the Grohl appearance: comedian Pete Holmes and Apatow bantered back and forth to open the show, followed by a short set by Tenacious D that culminated in a faithful singalong of REO Speedwagon’s “I’m Gonna Keep on Loving You” to rapturous applause.
Sarah Silverman tried out new material before Beck entered, acoustic guitar in tow, for a set featuring some of his deep-cut classics, including “Cyanide Breathmint” (played as a request for attendee Eric Andre) and “Debra,” with longtime collaborator Kurstin on keys.
Black and Reilley helped out on a ramshackle run-through of the “Mellow Gold” cut “Truckdriving Neighbors Downstairs” before the gang started into “Summer Breeze” Grohl strided in just in time to sing the short guitar part, met by amazed whoops and a semi-standing ovation from the stunned audience.
“Summer Breeze” didn’t blow in out of nowhere: The ’70s smash reentered the public consciousness this summer after the news of Jim Seals’ death in June.
The night at Largo was rounded out with a Grohl-less run-through of the Rolling Stones classic “Dead Flowers,” with Reilley taking on lead vocal duties.
Grohl is next scheduled to appear during two tributes to Hawkins in London and Los Angeles in September before playing as part of the James Gang reunion in Columbus, Ohio on Nov. 13.
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